Archive | November, 2018

Beat Holiday Stress with These Helpful Tips

November 29, 2018


Happy holidays! You’re likely balancing party planning, shopping for gifts, working through some deadlines, and life’s other demands. It’s a wonderful season but it’s also a season that requires some extreme need for coping. These tips can help you cut through the overwhelm and find some time for yourself.

Just Breathe.
Here are three breathing exercises that will help you beat stress. Breathing is one of the easiest ways to get centered and find calm when you’re in the middle of the holiday frenzy. It only takes a minute or two and the results are very effective.

Go to Your Happy Place.
Here are seven quick ideas that can help you de-stress almost instantly. Sometimes you just need to treat yourself to take off the edge. Especially during this season, when there is so little time to focus on just yourself!

Stay Positive.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to do life or your career. Stay positive, which means cutting out any negative distractions like the news or social media, especially if you’re constantly comparing yourself to others.

Image via Lucky Lynda/Flickr.


Continue reading...

Job Searching Over the Holidays? Read This.

November 27, 2018


Feeling overwhelmed? Then it must be the holidays! No doubt that this time of year is full of a lot of fun and a lot of stress. And if you’re in the middle of a job hunt, you may be tempted to wait until the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve. But this is actually a great opportunity to hit the ground running in your pursuit of a new position.

Don’t Stop Searching for a Job Over the Holidays
You heard that right! November and December are actually a great time to search for a job. Here’s why.

7 Reasons You Should Continue Your Job Search Over the Holidays
Learn how parties, catching up with old friends, and the spirit of giving can work to your advantage.

How to Stay Focused on Your Job Search During the Holidays
Learn three tips for getting through the busy season including why you should set goals–and tell your friends and family about it.

Image via SimplyPanda/Flickr. 


Continue reading...

Congrats to SVP + COO Randy Lewis!

November 20, 2018


We’re excited to share some news: the appointment of Randal D. Lewis to the newly created position of Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer! A 13-year veteran of Spectrum Brands, Mr. Lewis most recently served as President, Consumer Products Group consisting of the Company’s Pet Care, Home & Garden and Global Auto Care businesses. In addition to the leaders of those three businesses, the presidents of the Hardware & Home Improvement (HHI) division as well as the discontinued operations of Global Batteries and Lights and Home & Personal Care Appliances will now report to Mr. Lewis in his new position as Chief Operating Officer.

“Randy has the proven leadership acumen, operating skills set and change management experience to make him a very strong COO at this important stage of our Company’s transition as we capitalize on the many opportunities across our businesses,” said David M. Maura, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Spectrum Brands. “In working with Randy over many years, I have been consistently impressed with his passion and laser focus on delivering operational excellence, outstanding customer service, cost efficiency, and sustainable organic growth through innovation and best-in-class brand marketing and merchandising. Randy is a tested leader with excellent instincts who commands the respect and admiration of our Board, co-workers, customers and suppliers.”

Mr. Lewis served as President of Spectrum Brands’ Consumer Products Group since April 2018 and previously led the former Pet, Home & Garden Division since November 2014 . Prior to that, he was Senior Vice President and General Manager of Home & Garden since January 2011 , where he led the restructuring of the business. From 2005-2011, Mr. Lewis served as Home & Garden’s Vice President, Manufacturing and Vice President, Operations upon the acquisition of the business by Spectrum Brands. Prior to that, Mr. Lewis held various leadership roles from 1997-2005 with the former United Industries Corporation and from 1989-1997 with Unilever. Mr. Lewis earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1988.

Continue reading...

How to Track Your Successes (and Failures)

November 15, 2018


Like most people, you likely started the new year with lofty goals in which you may or may not be still pursuing. It’s easy to let our big plans and ambitions fall to the wayside. But there is one hack for staying on track: record the progress we are making. There are tons of apps and websites out there than can help you observe and assess your very own data. Your efforts will be staring right back at you. Let’s be honest–whether it reveals a failure or a success, it will be motivating!

Goodreads: We’ve touted the benefits of reading many times, and it’s a common goal on many people’s list of personal improvements. Keep track of how many books you’ve read this year, and what books you want to read next with Goodreads. Set a reading goal for the year and check your progress as you go.

RescueTime: If you’re focused on changing your habits and improving your focus while sitting at your computer, RescueTime can give you a report on how you spend your time. Want to write a novel? How much time did you actually spend on Microsoft Word? And how much time did you spend on Facebook instead? The data can be incredibly motivating.

Toggl: For those who want to track their entire day and see how they spend their time, Toggl lets you manually do so. Choose whether you want to track everything or just a few important goals. Again, the reports will be telling and can encourage you to be more intentional about how you spend your time.

Image designed with Canva.

Continue reading...

5 Ways to Make Your Meetings More Engaging

November 13, 2018


In many corporate environments, the Powerpoint presentation is put on a pedestal. Someone may spend hours or even days perfecting slides for an upcoming meeting. But according to one company, the most productive meetings don’t have slide decks.

The thought process is that slide-run meetings become too much like a college-style lecture. The presenter holds all the power, and the coworkers diligently listen. That makes it harder for the audience to chime in and for everyone to have a true back-and-forth conversation. Slides also feel permanent, like the ideas stated on them can’t evolve.

Whether you agree or don’t agree with this concept, here are a few ways to make your meetings more engaging.

  1. Fill up that whiteboard. Ideas can be easily added and erased, and a marker can be placed in anyone’s hand. Ideas can flow more freely and can constantly evolve throughout the meeting.
  2. Write up a brief. Summarize the problem, goals, and potential solutions then pass it out before the meeting begins, or give people five minutes to assess and take notes at the start of the meeting. Kick off the conversation by asking for feedback.
  3. Go around the circle. Instead of letting people chime in willy nilly, make the conversation more accessible for those who may be too shy to speak up. Everyone gets a chance to share their opinions and views.
  4. Set a time limit. Time limits can be motivating and can excite participants to chime in quickly, but get their point across briefly.
  5. Get outside. Break out of the meeting room and head for a picnic table outside. Or, make it a walking meeting and have an authentic and thoughtful conversation.

Image via Lance Nishihira/Flickr.  

Continue reading...

3 More Ways to Stay Positive in Work and Life

November 8, 2018


Let’s face it: everyone is busy, especially during fall when commitments surrounding the new school year as well as an onslaught of holiday planning can become incredibly overwhelming. You’re constantly wondering, Where did summer go?! It’s a rude awakening after a too-short break. If you’re feeling a little run down already, these tips can help you power through a long work week followed by an action-packed weekend.

  1. Think of the big picture.
    Don’t let the little details bog you down. Little frustrations, negative feedback, and unexpected challenges can easily dampen your spirit on a daily basis. Keep the end game in mind or remember how small this bump is in the road.
  2. Perfect your daily routine.
    Every day should be filled with a nice mix of friends, family, and you time as well as work and play. Find the perfect mix for you. Develop a schedule that meets your needs and your goals. Easier said than done, but worth a concerted effort!
  3. Utilize your strengths.
    Ideally, your current position would put your best talents to good work. If it doesn’t, offer to take on a project that does. Or find other ways throughout the day to utilize your strengths. When we do good work, we feel accomplished, we get great feedback, and it can improve our mood.

Image via Simon Varwell/Flickr.

Continue reading...

Would You Hold a Silent Meeting?

November 6, 2018


New trend alert: silent meetings. Say, what? Well, say nothing. Silent meetings are group gatherings (they can be in person or virtual) where everyone silently works at the same time. Jeff Bezos of Amazon fame is said to be the originator of the silent meeting. The idea behind silent meetings is that they are more effective, productive, and democratic. Typing is involved, so while the meeting is “silent” it isn’t without discussion.

There are a lot of different ways a silent meeting can work:

  • Together, We Can: Think of it like a sprint work session. Perhaps you’re all working toward the same goal or all working on the same project at the same time.
  • Start Quiet: The first 30 minutes are spent reviewing a detailed memo and taking notes. The next 30 minutes are spent in discussion, which should be more focused and thought-out.
  • Silently Share: Give access to a shared Google Doc for a certain time period. During that time, anyone has a chance to express their opinion in writing without worries of not being heard or being talked over.
  • Group Chat: Use a messaging program like Slack and the text-only conversation will also double as meeting minutes.

How else do you envision a silent meeting?

Image via Pete/Flickr. 


Continue reading...

How to Write More Effective Emails

November 1, 2018


You know what I’m talking about: the extra-long email chain with various people CC’d throughout sporadically, chiming in on different conversations, sharing random important details. And you’re all expected to piece together the crucial parts and make sense of it all. It doesn’t seem like the most effective way to use anyone’s time, or the most reliable way to share information.

Unfortunately, email overload and messy email chains are a reality we often face today. However, there are a few small steps you can take to write more effective emails. Perhaps the next email you send will start a more organized and thoughtful chain. It’s possible!

  1. Embrace brevity. 
    “TL;DR” is internet slang for “too long; didn’t read.” Often at the end of a long article or message board post, the writer will add a “TL;DR” summary that states exactly what they wanted to say but in a much more brief one sentence structure. Write every email as if it was a “TL;DR” summary. Emails aren’t novels. You can always explain more in person or over the phone if need be.
  2. Use bold to your advantage.
    Don’t be afraid to bold certain words, phrases, names, or dates to ensure special attention is given to those pieces of information. Make the email as easy to read as possible.
  3. Bullets and numbers are your friends.
    Could this information be better conveyed in an easy-to-read list? Again, make the information as succinct and comprehensible as possible.
  4. Make a decision and stick to it.
    Instead of ruminating over an issue and documenting your entire thought process in the email then cc’ing someone else for a second opinion, commit yourself to a decision. Embrace your own smarts and skills and feel confident in your decision-making abilities.

Image via Sue/Flickr.

Continue reading...